"The Ghastly Ghoul" "The Ghastly Ghoul"

With less than two weeks’ notice, Cartoon Forum has shifted from a real-life to a virtual event. The pitching platform was due to take place in Toulouse, France on September 14–17, but those plans were waylaid by a local resurgence of the pandemic.

The organizers note that more than 200 participants withdrew from the in-person event in five days. “With too few broadcasters confirming their presence on site,” they said, “we think it is more honest to organize Cartoon Forum online only. Our objective still remains ‘Business First,’ with the projects as the main priority.” Producers are being asked to submit recorded pitches, which will be uploaded to an online platform on the aforementioned dates and kept there until October 15.

Real-life events have been cautiously restarting in Europe. A few animation festivals have taken place this summer and the Venice Film Festival is now underway in Italy. But France has seen a gradual rise in coronavirus cases throughout August, and several nations have reimposed quarantines on people arriving from the country. Haute-Garonne, the department in which Toulouse is situated, has been designated a “red zone” — the highest alert level.

Before the change, Cartoon Forum was already planning a stripped-back edition with a number of safety protocols. Audience capacity during the pitches would have been reduced by half and social events, usually an important environment for networking, would not have been held.

The forum is Europe’s leading co-production platform for tv and SVOD animation. In a continent where coproductions are the norm, the event carries great influence. Last year, around 1,000 badgeholders gathered in Toulouse, where 85 projects were presented.

This year, 83 projects will be pitched online. Explore the line-up here, and tune in later in the month for our coverage.

(Image at top: “The Ghastly Ghoul” by Dream Logic and Lupus Films, one of the projects that will be pitched at this year’s edition.)